Recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Dec 6, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Amex Bank of Canada was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2019):
- Amex Canada helps employees save for the future with a defined contribution pension plan and matching RSP contributions -- and rewards employees who have completed 30 years of service with a retirement trip, covering the costs of a vacation of their choosing to a maximum of $5,000
- Amex Canada celebrates exceptional performance and achievement through a number of initiatives including an internal Reward Blue recognition program (with a redeemable points rewards system), the Hall of Fame Award, the President's Award and the Edward P. Gilligan Award for Innovation
- Amex Canada supports employees who are new mothers with maternity leave top-up payments, to 100% of salary for up to 12 weeks (extended from 6 weeks previously) -- and offers the convenience of onsite daycare when employees are ready to return to work
Amex Canada cares about support and flexibility
Young and ambitious, Nikki Grant feels she's found the perfect employer for growing her skills and career. Grant, 29, has worked as a Lifestyle Consultant within the Travel and Lifestyle Services business at American Express Canada for more than two years - she makes restaurant reservations for premium Cardmembers and books concert and theatre tickets, among other tasks.
With Amex, she says, she has found a company "that really cares, which you don't often find in a lot of large organizations. They really want to know about us as a person, and they tailor our regular coaching sessions to us so that we're set up for success."
The caring - and accommodating - nature of the company has been a particular benefit for Grant given that, in addition to working full-time, she is also in the third year of completing her degree in communications.
"Within my department, we have the opportunity to do a variety of shifts as well as switch shifts if something doesn't work in your favour," she says. "For example, I had a morning shift in the summer and then when it came to registering for school, I didn't have to worry about whether I'd be able to take a certain course or not because of work, as I knew that my colleagues had my back and were always willing to lend a helping hand. Management is also great with me being in school, especially when I have exams and things like that."
Flexibility for staff, as well as support, are key for the company, says Catherine Finley, Vice-President of Human Resources. "One of our core values is enabling our employees to maintain work-life balance. When we look at our employee satisfaction survey, 90 per cent of all our Canadian employees say that their leaders give them the flexibility they need."
She notes the case of "two high performing managers" who each wanted to work half-time and were permitted - after it was determined the needs of the business would be met - to combine their jobs into one.
Both Grant and Finley cite the company's new open-concept office at Sheppard Ave. and Victoria Park in Toronto. For Grant, it helps facilitate "great camaraderie among our team. We get to meet face-to-face with our directors every day - when they come in, they say 'hi' to you."
Finley says the company is heavily invested in staff training and development, for both managers and working-level employees. For the former, there's a relatively new training partnership with Harvard University. "Leadership training is offered to all of our manager-and-above employees and they get a certificate at the end," she says. "I'm going through it myself. It really adds a richness to dialogue at the leadership level."
Another current focus for Amex is mental-health wellness. "On World Mental Health Day we hosted an all-employee event," says Finley. "I want to continue to push to have mental health enter our common vernacular so that we can remove any stigma associated with mental issues and ensure that people are showing up to work with a healthy outlook."
Finley also notes the company's commitment to inclusiveness and the advancement of female employees. "For the past three years, women have made up 55 per cent of the American Express senior leadership of our directors and above. If we look at our VP-and-above population, 59 per cent of them are women. We provide opportunities to really elevate our women and have many events and resources, including mentorship, to ensure we have gender parity."
Grant, who hopes to take advantage of the company's new job-shadowing program once she completes her studies, notes that inclusiveness is critical. "As a young female, it's really important for us to see that we can strive for the top and one day be a female VP in the company."
Recognized as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2019):
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 28, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why Amex Bank of Canada was selected as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2019):
- Amex Canada launched a "Women at Amex" strategy to support the development and advancement of female employees -- impressively, women currently represent 57 per cent of senior leadership roles and 52 per cent of the company's board of directors
- The company recently hosted a Women at American Express Canada Summit to discuss female ambition, progress to achieving gender balance in corporate Canada, and gaps that need to be addressed
- In recognition of World Mental Health Day, Amex Canada's employee networks collaborated to provide related resources and education, including a Healthy Minds webinar, in-person and WebEx workshops on exercise and nutrition, a mindfulness exercise, and presentations from external guest speakers
"Being a leader of the Black Employee Network at Amex Canada, I've witnessed firsthand the significant impact our commitment to a structural diversity and inclusion strategy has had on the organization. As our grassroots, employee-driven community of sixteen colleague networks continues to expand, we empower employees to strengthen relationships across networks while broadening their knowledge of the business." Momar S., Bilingual Credit Team Leader
Amex Canada's employee networks focus on inclusion
American Express Canada is committed to fostering a diverse work environment for its employees. Just ask Adil Kanji, Manager, Account Development, who is a part of Amex's Millennial Network, one of 10 employee networks the company provides with ongoing resources and support. In 2016, Kanji co-founded the Millennial Network in Canada to help harness millennials' skills and raise their profile within the company.
"The motivation was to really connect and inspire millennials across the different business units," says Kanji, "to give them a chance for professional development and business partnerships. It was also to bring millennials and non-millennials together, whether it be through forms of reverse mentorship or understanding the millennial demographic as a whole and making the workplace more cohesive overall.
"Sometimes millennials are misunderstood," he continues, "and so we wanted to place an emphasis on millennials as consumers but also as future leaders of the business, and to make sure Amex understood that our expertise could benefit the organization." Kanji notes that the Millennial Network was able to help with the launch of Amex's millennial-targeted Cobalt Card by offering up its member base as a sounding board for ideas through focus groups.
For Nyree Embiricos, Vice-President and Senior Counsel in American Express Canada's General Counsel's Office, the Millennial Network and nine other Canadian employee groups reflect the company's strong emphasis on diversity and inclusivity. "What's great about working at Amex is that it's an organization that places value on having a diverse workforce," she says. "It's a company where differences are embraced, and where there are real initiatives to support and advance diversity and inclusion. We know that it's important to reflect the different customers that we serve."
Embiricos points out that, through the company's employee networks, colleagues can connect through shared experiences and perspectives that represent the full spectrum of diversity within American Express. "I'm proud that I'm an executive sponsor of our PRIDE Network in Canada," says Embiricos. "We're committed to advancing the fact that, regardless of sexual orientation, we encourage our colleagues to bring their whole selves to work and to feel comfortable."
Embiricos says it's also gratifying to work for a company which shares her personal commitment to the advancement of women in the workplace. "I'm very proud to say we've actually achieved gender parity in Canada, and by that I mean 55 per cent of Amex Canada's leadership team is female and 59 per cent of the company's senior leadership team is female. Overall, 60 per cent of all of Amex Canada's employees are female," she says.
"This didn't happen by accident; we've been strategic and proactive about how we empower women, building their careers, identifying development opportunities, hosting an array of events, encouraging mentorship of women by women but also by men, and also providing opportunities to move up through the ranks."
The company also supports female-focused networks through the Women's Interest Network (WIN), Women in Technology and Women and Law, which Embiricos co-founded. She notes that the company is also open to flexible work arrangements, which can be a benefit for working parents ¬¬- including Kanji, who also happens to be a member of WIN.
"I think the biggest thing for me here in terms of diversity," he says, "comes down to feeling welcome at work. It's about being accommodating towards me both as a young parent and as a younger colleague. The messaging around diversity, inclusion, accommodation and getting involved in our networks is across the board, from the local leadership in Canada all the way up to our global CEO in New York. We're seeing a greater emphasis on this year after year, and it's fantastic."